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Ivan's book is finally here, and there's a new character named Akuti Tejaswini Jyoti ghem Estif Arqua, or Tej for short. I don't think I even want to attempt that mouthful of a full name, but I need a mental-voice pronunciation for Tej, and I can't seem to come up with a satisfactory one.

  • My main problem is that tej is the Hungarian word for milk, pronounced /tey/ with e as in bet and y as in yellow. So while this is the pronunciation I keep trying to use, it just Doesn't WorkTM for the character in question. (Really. She is nothing like milk.)

  • There's an Indian name Tej (possibly short for Tejas) which is pronounced /tage/ (rhymes with page) - but it's a masculine name, not a feminine one.

  • Tejaswini itself is also Indian, and feminine, but the first syllable is pronounced with e as in bet, and tedge-rhymes-with-edge just doesn't sound good on its own.

Is there any Word of God on this subject? Failing that, does anyone have the audiobook?

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The author says the name a few times in this reading. On the first occasion it almost rhymes with "edge" (/'tedʒ/). On the second occasion it's closer to /'teʒ/


I've also isolated a couple of examples from the audiobook

Here and here

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OK, Word of God has been acquired (thank you, Chester County Book Company [and Baen, of course]): Lois pronounces "Tej" as /tehzh/, with /eh/ as in bet and /zh/ like the s in measure.

Now, granted, this is from the same person who pronounces "Enrique" as /en-ree-kee/, so we're not talking authentic native pronunciation or anything. But it's good enough for my mental voice.

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    It may help to elaborate on what the source of the info is. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Nov 17 '12 at 3:28
  • @DVK: uh, hello, "Word of God"? Lois McMaster Bujold was signing books at a local bookstore, and I asked her point-blank how to pronounce Ivan's lady's name. – Martha Nov 17 '12 at 3:58
  • @Martha I think the issue is more, we don't have proof you didn't just make it up... – Izkata Nov 17 '12 at 6:35
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    @Izkata Then go to a book signing! – Mr Lister Nov 17 '12 at 7:10
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    Given that Tej's father picked her names from books, it makes sense that he wouldn't know how to pronounce them in a historically authentic way. – user56 May 18 '14 at 22:02
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Tej means 'brightness' or 'illumination'. It is generally used to describe the aura or illumination that surrounds enlightened, intellectual beings. Tejas means the one who has Tej and is a male name. Tejaswini is a female name with the same meaning as that of Tejas.

Help with pronunciation - You're right. Tej rhymes with page but the pronunciation of T is not a 'hard' one as it is in case of 'Tiger'. The pronunciation of Tej's T doesnt come deeply from the throat, as it would in case of tiger..

PS: I'm an Indian.

  • I'm confused: how on earth would you go about pronouncing a /t/ "deeply from the throat"? Seems anatomically impossible, like you'd have to swallow your tongue first. That aside: do Indians use Tej as a short form of Tejaswini? If yes, is it pronounced the same way as the masculine name? How hard is the 'g' - is it sorta-soft like in jam or more like the 'dg' in edge? And beyond all that, do we know how Bujold intended the name to be pronounced? I mean, we're talking 30th century Barrayar, not 21st century India. – Martha Nov 9 '12 at 20:25
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    Yes. 'Tej' would be an acceptable short form of Tejaswini. The 'g' would be soft like in jam. The 't' would sound something like 'th' in path or sith. – Bharat B Dec 10 '12 at 5:07

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